Clothes: ようふく vs ふく

Doing Japanese practice on the web, you have to come up with your own words - there are none of the prefab pieces from the app.

So I got the sentences "I washed all my clothes" and "I bought a lot of clothes" wrong because I used ふく, rather than ようふく.

Duolingo never explains the difference; imiwa? says that ようふく is western-style clothing (I'm assuming as opposed to traditional Japanese clothing).

So is that it? Does this distinction still hold? Japanese speakers, which word do you use for shopping or doing the laundry?

September 9, 2017


It has long become acceptable in Japan that 服and 洋服 are interchangeable, and there should be no nuance involved. In addition to the two (and 和服), there are other related terms:

  • The general terms 衣服 (いふく)and 衣類 (いるい)that both mean (clothing, garments, etc.).
  • 被服 (ひふく) that refers to all wearables, including hats, shoes, gloves, headbands, neckties, and other “auxiliary” items.
September 9, 2017

In addition, 和服(わふく) refers to traditional Japanese clothes.

September 10, 2017

Thank you, both of you - I appreciate your help!

September 10, 2017
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